EA Is Working On Their Own “Assassin’s Creed-Style” Game

The Assassin’s Creed  series annually makes Ubisoft bucket loads of cash, so it only seems fitting that another huge publisher would want similar results. EA has revealed that they are currently working on a game that is similar to the framework of what Assassin’s Creed has done, but (hopefully) unique enough to stand on its own.

At a recent UBS Global Technology Conference, it was revealed that former Ubisoft veteran who left the company for EA in July, Jade Raymond, would be leading the “gigantic action” game.

CFO Blake Jorgensen said the following regarding the new game:

“We’ve never really operated in the largest genre of gaming, and that’s the action genre. That’s the Assassin’s Creed-style games; more open-world, more single-play versus multiplayer. It’s not been an area that we’ve operated in. We recently hired Jade Raymond, who was behind the Assassin’s Creed franchise for Ubisoft and she will be building an action genre for us through a studio we’re building out in Montreal right now. So a lot of excitement around the action genre.”

I gotta say, this news has me sighing more than anything. I think everybody agrees that the Assassin’s Creed series has run its course, and EA doesn’t exactly instill confidence when talking about original concepts. Hopefully it all works out, but I’m not getting my hopes up!

Condemn O.R. Condone – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (PlayStation 4)

After the technical disaster that was Assassin’s Creed Unity, the series as a whole needed the next game in the series to really step up big. After Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag shook up the series’ formula by adding naval combat, Unity was a pretty big step back as it reverted to what the series was before. Not only that, but the game launched as a bug-riddled mess and remained that way for a long time. So, here we are a year later from that and we have yet another Assassin’s Creed game. While it’s definitely an improvement over Unity from a technical standpoint, we’ve only gotten marginal improvements in both story and gameplay.

The story of Assassin’s Creed Syndicate takes place this time in the gorgeous setting of Victorian London as an initiate is tasked with exploring the narrative of twin sibling protagonists Jacob and Evie Frye. It’s the height of the Industrial Revolution and class inequality is running rampant, resulting in Templars running the show and regular citizens struggling and even children being forced into labor. Jacob and Evie both want something different out of London, as Jacob is trying to create his own army called the Rooks to take on the Templar-led Blighters and free London, while Evie is looking for a piece of Eden which has potentially incredible power.

The plot this time around is definitely more refined and interesting than what we got last time with Unity, as Syndicate gives us two protagonists that are loyal to each other but also at odds. The fact that they are both fighting for two different things results in some pretty interesting conflict, and both characters are well-written and well-voice acted to convey the conflict solidly. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the overall package ends up being very predictable, with the ending of the game actually playing out VERY similarly to the ending of Unity. More needs to be done with this series’ plot creation, as no matter how well you execute something it’s derailed by the fact that it’s all very familiar.

Luckily the gameplay is a solid step up over what was offered previously, as the combat itself is much more fluid and enjoyable. It’s now more along the lines of something you would find in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, though obviously not quite as smooth or responsive. You are constantly being swarmed by enemies and while you’re mashing away you need to be ready to hit the right button to dodge an incoming attack or break an enemy’s defense. Your weapons to take the baddies down are pretty standard for the series, with knives, canes, guns and gauntlets being at your disposal. The game even allows you to switch between Jacob and Evie regularly, which does shake up the gameplay a bit as Jacob is more combat-tuned and Evie is more stealth-tuned.

Where Syndicate tries to twist the gameplay the most is in the traversal department. Where the city of London is the biggest area ever in an Assassin’s Creed game it would take a very long time to get around normally, so now you have the option to hop on a horse carriage to speed things up. Navigation isn’t the only thing you do with horse carriages, as they also result in battles with enemies where you have to try and ram each other off the road or even hop onto the roof of the enemy’s carriage to throw them out. Riding around in horse carriages is actually a lot of fun to do, even if the series’ typically wonky controls do cause some problems every now and then. A rope launcher has also been added to the game, which allows you to shoot a rope to any surface and then climb/zip along at a much quicker rate. I was hugely thankful that this was added to the game, as the traditional climbing from the bottom to a top of a building is getting old fast and anything that can speed up the process is much appreciated.

Your group’s main head quarters also serves as transportation, as you get a train early on that regularly zips around the city that you can always quick travel to. Inside the train you’ll find many of the game’s main characters to chat with or to embark on new main/side quests. Pretty much every aspect of the game can be accessed from this train, which makes doing things like restocking medicine, throwing knives, etc. much more convenient. I always love when a game gives you your own home base, and the fact that this one is a freakin’ train that skims around the city is a really cool and well-executed idea.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate

While the city of London is home to a standard-length story for the series, there is once again a ton of side content to waste time in if you so desire. It is made up of seven boroughs that each have their own side-quests to take on, collectibles to find and, of course, viewpoints to synchronize. While a lot of the side content is typically filler, there’s actually a few parts that are a lot of fun to do. One such part is the Charles Dickens side quests, which task you with travelling with the famous author to do things like investigate a haunted house. These quests have a lot of mystery to them and give a different kind of vibe that the series rarely ever taps into. For the most part, though, you’ll regularly be asked to do repetitive tasks like rescue child laborers, kill all Blighters in their territory and so on.

As you slowly make your way through all of the game’s content you will level up your characters by upgrading their moves, weapons, armor and item capacity. As mentioned previously, each character has certain moves that only they can learn, but for the most part they both have access to the same skill trees. It all works very similarly to how it did in Unity, though it works a little better this time around. The game offers a lot of freedom to customize each of your characters however you see fit, which is always welcomed. Focusing your skill points in certain areas for each character is recommended, however, so you can really create two different styles of characters to play around with.

It also doesn’t hurt that the city you’re going through is absolutely gorgeous, with both the graphics and design being top-notch. The game is swarming with beautiful buildings with more floors and higher peaks than before, and the lighting effects in particular are jaw-dropping. I also love how the game’s areas are designed to allow you to complete a mission in several ways. While a lot of the time you can proceed directly to your target to assassinate them, you will also regularly have the option to seek someone out to give you a key for an easier way in or even get a support crew to back you up. It creates a lot of possibilities for each mission and prevents things from feeling too linear.

At the end of the day Syndicate definitely gets the job done in getting the series back on the right track after Unity dropped the ball out of the gate. It’s much a more fine-tuned experience from a gameplay standpoint and the characters we’re controlling this time around are more interesting than what we’ve gotten in recent installments. However, as well-oiled of a machine it is it doesn’t change the fact that if you’ve been keeping up with the series then this one isn’t going to do much to wow you. Still, regardless of the series’ flaws becoming more and more prominent with each passing year Syndicate will more than likely leave the average fan coming out of the game feeling satisfied.

RESPECTABLE

Ubisoft Wants You To Join Their Club To Access “Extra” In-Game Content

Ubisoft isn’t exactly a publisher that sparks a lot of positive emotions with consumers, and the company’s new Club probably won’t be doing anything to change that.

Via the controversial Uplay service the company has revealed what is called Ubisoft Club, which is basically a cross-platform rewards service that will be launching in the near future. It will supposedly offer gamers rewards, badges, access to extra in-game content, beta invitations and so on.

So, as of right now, it isn’t exactly clear how this will differ from the Uplay service. Check out the announcement trailer for the service directly below.

Ubisoft Reveals Far Cry Primal, Launches February 2016

The game that Ubisoft was teasing via YouTube Gaming is none other than Far Cry Primal, the latest installment in the hugely popular Far Cry series.

Far Cry Primal is set during the Stone Age, with the trailer showing off hunters trekking through gorgeous environments while hunting down woolly mammoth’s. They take one down, but it’s never that easy as they are then attacked by a Sabre-toothed tiger.

Gamers will control a character named TAKKAR, who is a “seasoned hunter and the last surviving member of his hunting group.” His one goal is to survive in a viscous world called Oros where savage beasts regularly wander the land.

Far Cry Primal will launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23rd, 2016.

The Rainbow Six: Siege Beta Was Destructive And Refreshing Fun

So the Rainbow Six: Siege beta has finally come to a close after being extended an extra several days by Activision, which means that I can finally sit down and dump my brain into an article. It’s been a long time since I’ve geared up for a Rainbow Six game, so playing Siege is sort of a reintroduction for me to this long-running series. Even though it’s been around forever, playing the slow-burning Siege was a breath of fresh air in an age where every shooter needs to move like lightning.

The big appeal of Siege is mostly that the environments are much more destructible than what you find in your typical shooter. You can shoot holes through many walls, floors and ceilings to give yourself unique ways to try and take down your opponents, and in certain situations you can even breach through them to give you and your team a new entry into a room. This turns what would typically be a more standard affair into a more paranoid one, as you can suddenly have a tsunami of bullets unwillingly injected into your body from any given angle.

Ease of access is a theme that runs throughout each match of Siege, as not only can you blast through most surfaces you can also rappel up walls to break through windows or climb up on rooftops. It may not seem like much, but it adds a jolt to a lot of matches in the right situations. Rappeling up a wall and then smashing through a window filled baddies is always awesome, especially if you manage to take them all down like a badass. You might not be able to completely demolish your surroundings, but what the game does allow adds a nice change of pace to the modern-day shooter.

This increased level of destruction is all the better thanks to Siege‘s slower and more methodical gameplay speed. Where most shooters today move at super high speeds, Siege feels like a leisurely walk, by comparison. That’s a really good thing, however, as it allows for more stealthy moments to make the eventual shootouts that much more intense. As a match begins everyone is moving sneakily through corridors as they try to find a head popping out over cover or around a corner, and this gives the matches far more tension, as a result. There are a lot more quiet moments to be found here, and it’s a huge breath of fresh air when most current shooters there is no room to breathe at all between the bullets.

The beta offers 3 modes to play in, with two of them revolving around reaching a certain area to arm a bomb or defeat your enemies and the other being a classic Terrorist hunt mode. Disarm Bomb and Secure Area really live up to what the marketing has been pushing for Siege, as you and your team breach through walls to get to an area guarded by the enemy team. You’ll stalk through hallways that will be guarded with barricades, barbed wire and more that the enemy has laid down to halt your progress, but you’ll also have items to help you overcome them.

You’ll also unlock new classes and weapons with Renown Points that you get for completing matches. There are several different classes that will have character loadouts that are suited for offense and defense, and each one packs a solid amount of variety. One loadout might have you moving around quickly with submachine guns, while another will make you a walking tank with a magnum and a riot shield. There’s a lot of customization to be found here even with this small beta, and that bodes well for the eventual full release.

Rainbow-Six-Siege-Rooftop

My biggest gripe doesn’t have anything to do with the beta at all, as it’s that Siege will not have a singleplayer story mode. I know that I’m strictly judging the beta here, but I’m really wondering how much left there will be to say beyond what this beta has already shown us. Siege is going to have to pack lots of modes, maps and weapons to warrant a $60 price tag, especially considering there is no singleplayer to speak of. Even so, strictly judging this beta alone, Rainbow Six Siege has reconnected me with this great series and has me optimistic for the final product.

CONDONE

Ubisoft Teasing New Game With “Survival Is Timeless” Stream

Ubisoft is gearing up to announce a new game via YouTube gaming, and the accompanying description reads “Survival is Timeless”.

Some are speculating that this could be the next game in the Far Cry series, as rumors had been swirling a while ago regarding a prehistoric Far Cry with dinosaurs. If that ends up being the case… I would be completely OK with that.

There’s no time for when the stream will begin, but keep an eye on the video stream below for more information.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate Has More Gameplay Vids For You To Check Out

We’re getting closer and closer to the release of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, and now a couple more gameplay videos have surfaced that show off what the game is all about.

The first video follows Jacob and the second one features Evie, who are serving as the co-protagonists in Syndicate. Check out both of those videos directly below.

Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate is developed by Ubisoft Quebec for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. It will launch on October 23, 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with the PC version launching on November 19, 2015.